Sunday, June 15, 2008

Celtics-Lakers -- Game 5 analysis

Through five games in this series, the Celtics are the better team and the more disciplined team. Despite two victories at home to extend the series, the Lakers' performances were not good. They were littered with defensive breakdowns and lapses in focus down the stretch. They don't seem capable of sustaining offensive excellence for long stretches, let alone 48 minutes.

As discussed earlier, teams leading 3-2 in the NBA Finals and heading home are 8-for-8 in winning the championship. On seven of those occasions, the home team closed it out in Game 6. In the other one, the 2005 Spurs lost in Game 6, but then bounced back to defeat the Pistons in 7.

In order for the Lakers to win in Boston and stave off elimination, they will have to lock in defensively for four quarters, move the ball better for four quarters, battle on the boards for four quarters, get Gasol, Odom and one shooter going, while also having Kobe in rhythm down the stretch. Those are a lot of things to ask of the Lakers, who haven't strung together a 48-minute game yet.